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View americancanuck's profile

why is 8/4 lumber more expensive that 4/4

by americancanuck
posted 01-03-2018 02:11 PM


26 replies so far

View mpounders's profile

mpounders

940 posts in 3453 days


#1 posted 01-03-2018 02:23 PM

Uhh, because it’s twice as thick? 8/4 = 2” thick. 4/4 = 1” thick.

-- Mike P., Arkansas, http://mikepounders.weebly.com

View BenDupre's profile

BenDupre

723 posts in 1046 days


#2 posted 01-03-2018 02:32 PM

I’m with you. Seems high for rough fir.

-- The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred. – George Bernard Shaw

View americancanuck's profile

americancanuck

441 posts in 3168 days


#3 posted 01-03-2018 02:36 PM

I can understand why the price would be more expensive for thicker wood if it was being priced by the linear foot but that doesn’t explain the significant difference in the board foot price

-- Retired and lovin it

View brtech's profile

brtech

1066 posts in 3480 days


#4 posted 01-03-2018 02:37 PM

It’s yield from a log. Harder to get 2” thick boards in a given grade than 1”. There are also volume effects; most sales are 4/4.

mpounders: he is quoting board feet, which takes into account thickness. A 12×12 x 1 board is one board foot. A 12×12 x 2 board is 2 board feet. If the price per board foot was constant, the 12×12 x 2 would cost twice as much as the 12×12 x 1, but as the OP says, he is being charged 6.89 per BF for 8/4 and 5.50 for 4/4. So his cost of a 12×12 x 1 is $5.50, but a 12×12 x 2 board would cost him $13.78 and not $11

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1081 posts in 3623 days


#5 posted 01-03-2018 02:40 PM

I’ve always figured it was because of what brtech said plus longer drying time. My lumber guy charges the same regardless of thickness, but that is unusual. I’m also buying green so there is no drying time difference for him. There is for me, though. :)

-- Paul Mayer, http://youtube.com/c/toolmetrix

View Robert's profile

Robert

3569 posts in 2039 days


#6 posted 01-03-2018 02:48 PM

I think its a combination of longer drying time, fewer boards in kiln, demand.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Ted78's profile

Ted78

406 posts in 2558 days


#7 posted 01-03-2018 03:01 PM

Becasue wood comes from trees. Shape, not just volume, affects price. Same reason Ten one carat diamonds is a lot cheaper than one ten carat diamond.

-- Ted

View bushmaster's profile

bushmaster

3726 posts in 2840 days


#8 posted 01-03-2018 03:20 PM

The two inch is taken out of the center of the log, if you are cutting 2 inch you get allot of 1 inch getting down to the core. The longer drying time is of course a factor to. draw a circle and then draw a square in the center away from the sapwood, all that side lumber will be 1 inch.of varing widths It is also a cheaper grade. I wanted some good black walnut at a local store, and most of it was just junk, from side lumber, knot and part sap wood. They buy it as it is cost effective I quess. Clear center wood would be more expensive,

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View americancanuck's profile

americancanuck

441 posts in 3168 days


#9 posted 01-03-2018 03:20 PM

ted78 if the price of diamonds was determined by the carat price, lets say $2.00/carat then 10 one carat diamonds would cost $20.00 and one 10 carat diamond would cost $20.00. Obviously there are other factors involved however wood is not the same as diamonds and the large difference in the price is not justified

-- Retired and lovin it

View gargey's profile

gargey

1013 posts in 1333 days


#10 posted 01-03-2018 03:43 PM


ted78 if the price of diamonds was determined by the carat price, lets say $2.00/carat then 10 one carat diamonds would cost $20.00 and one 10 carat diamond would cost $20.00. Obviously there are other factors involved however wood is not the same as diamonds and the large difference in the price is not justified.

- americancanuck

...says you…

View americancanuck's profile

americancanuck

441 posts in 3168 days


#11 posted 01-03-2018 03:46 PM

...says you…

What the hell is that supposed to mean

-- Retired and lovin it

View DS's profile

DS

3343 posts in 2978 days


#12 posted 01-03-2018 03:56 PM

Generally, it is the case that 8/4 prices are higher than 4/4 prices for many of the reasons mentioned.

It is NOT ALWAYS the case. Sometime 8/4 is LESS expensive.
Don’t forget market forces in play (Supply vs Demand).

This can affect prices as much as any other factor.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3053 posts in 1780 days


#13 posted 01-03-2018 04:09 PM

I see the same thing here for white oak. About $5.50 bf for 4/4 and nearly $10/bf for 8/4.
Other species have a similar markup, but usually about 10%-20%, not the 100% I see for the WO.

View Gilley23's profile

Gilley23

489 posts in 940 days


#14 posted 01-03-2018 04:31 PM


...says you…

What the hell is that supposed to mean

- americancanuck

It means of you don’t like the price then don’t buy it. Shop around. It also means that because it’s one, 8/4 board that the associated costs to mill it are higher, thus the higher price, and that just because you think it should be cheaper that it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be.

FYI you totally missed the diamond comparison.

View Gilley23's profile

Gilley23

489 posts in 940 days


#15 posted 01-03-2018 04:32 PM

Double post.

View tomsteve's profile

tomsteve

983 posts in 1777 days


#16 posted 01-03-2018 05:36 PM



I can understand why the price would be more expensive for thicker wood if it was being priced by the linear foot but that doesn t explain the significant difference in the board foot price

- americancanuck

how wide was the 8/4?

to find out exactly why the price difference, ask at where you inquired.

View gargey's profile

gargey

1013 posts in 1333 days


#17 posted 01-03-2018 05:44 PM


...says you…

What the hell is that supposed to mean
- americancanuck

You said “Obviously there are other factors involved however wood is not the same as diamonds and the large difference in the price is not justified.”

Your judgement that “the large difference in the price is not justified” is just your opinion, and the factors that merit the difference in price were iterated multiple times prior to your post.

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3287 posts in 2906 days


#18 posted 01-03-2018 06:00 PM

You see the same kind of price difference for plywood. Walnut plywood is much more expensive than cherry, which is more expensive than maple, and so on. The actual cost differences of the hardwood skin is much less significant to the labor cost to assemble the plywood.

To relate to this thread, there is a price difference due to production factors, but there is also a price difference because it isn’t as readily available so the law of supply and demand adds a premium. Consider gluing a couple of 4/4 pieces together if you want to keep the $/BF down.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View DS's profile

DS

3343 posts in 2978 days


#19 posted 01-03-2018 06:01 PM

Kiln dried Fir suitable for cabinets or furniture is atypically expensive to begin with.
There is just very little demand for it.

I can get Black Walnut for a little less than his quoted prices.
(When I did need some Fir a while back, I think I paid MORE than his quoted prices)

To the OP: If you don’t like the prices you are getting, then look elsewhere for your materials.
The Hardwood supply business is a fairly small group of companies and they usually stay relatively competitive with each other. If your quoted prices are competitive, then, you will find out quite easily.

Sometimes, though, the price is the price is the price.
Other times, you can find it elsewhere for a better deal.

Good luck.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Mork's profile

Mork

299 posts in 3333 days


#20 posted 01-03-2018 07:19 PM

My guess is the guy doesn’t understand the difference between square feet and board feet. I have always paid exactly the same price per BF regardless of thickness. Even $5.50 seems way too high to me!

How about a 2×10 ? Or possibly run a 2×10 through a planer and then glue to get it thick enough…

View LiveEdge's profile

LiveEdge

600 posts in 2178 days


#21 posted 01-03-2018 08:08 PM



ted78 if the price of diamonds was determined by the carat price, lets say $2.00/carat then 10 one carat diamonds would cost $20.00 and one 10 carat diamond would cost $20.00. Obviously there are other factors involved however wood is not the same as diamonds and the large difference in the price is not justified

- americancanuck

This is actually not true. If you head to Blue Nile Diamonds, a popular online diamond retailer, you will find a wildly different price per carat for larger stones.

Everything else being equal, a 1 carat diamond is about $4,500. A 5-carat diamond on the site (of the same characteristics) is $111,000. Rarity definitely plays a role in diamonds and probably plays a partial role in wood. As mentioned, fewer trees will give quality 8/4 boards versus 4/4 boards. Producing the boards is also more expensive (as mentioned, drying time), and 4/4 is a bulk size.

I see and expect more expensive prices per board foot for larger boards where I buy wood.

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1819 posts in 3034 days


#22 posted 01-04-2018 02:19 AM

I saw and dry lots of lumber. It is what I do. It takes 2.5 times longer to dry a 8/4 board versus a 4/4 board. The thicker the wood, the trickier it is to dry without defects. There is substantially more drying degrade in 8/4 versus 4/4 due to checking, cracking, splitting, etc. So the yield of good grade boards is proportionally less with the thicker stock.

To stay away from the juvenile core in a log, it takes a bigger diameter log to saw good grade 8/4 than 4/4. Large logs cost more per unit volume than small logs. It is also more difficult to handle 8/4 boards versus 4/4 boards. Imaging the weight difference of a 1×12x12 red oak board versus a 2×12x12 red oak board.

If you look at the wholesale price of hardwood lumber per the Hardwood Market Report, which is a price reporting service that you subscribe to that reports the weekly sales price of tractor trailer load quantities of hardwood lumber, and if you look at the wholesale price difference between 4/4 and 8/4, this is what you see:

Ratio of the price of 8/4 versus 4/4 lumber by species for FAS grade Hardwood (FAS is the top grade). This is the 8/4 price divided by the 4/4 price:

Ash 1.19
Cherry 1.26
Hickory 1.21
Hard Maple 1.34
Soft Maple 1.12
Red Oak 1.33
White Oak 1.62
Walnut 1.18

So, at the wholesale market level, there is a per BF price price premium of 8/4 to 4/4. This gets translated to the retail level.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

View jgred's profile

jgred

11 posts in 714 days


#23 posted 01-04-2018 02:24 AM

^^^Great Post, thank you.

View americancanuck's profile

americancanuck

441 posts in 3168 days


#24 posted 01-04-2018 05:53 AM

thank you WDHLT15 for the very informative answer to my question. It sure did clear up some misconceptions I had about lumber pricing

-- Retired and lovin it

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 2044 days


#25 posted 01-04-2018 06:02 AM


Ash 1.19
Cherry 1.26
Hickory 1.21
Hard Maple 1.34
Soft Maple 1.12
Red Oak 1.33
White Oak 1.62
Walnut 1.18

- WDHLT15

WTF dude. Where is alder? :)

Check out slab prices for common domestic species.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Mr_Pink's profile

Mr_Pink

177 posts in 930 days


#26 posted 01-09-2018 04:04 PM

As an economist, I feel obligated to either shed some light on this issue, or make it much more confusing.

While cost differences in the lumber industry may explain most or all of the differences in prices, it is common for price differences between two products sold by the same firm not to be explained by differences in costs. In fact, a firm that applies the same mark-up to all of its products is most likely not maximizing profits. The profit-maximizing price varies with the sensitivity of demand to changes in price (the price elasticity of demand). The less sensitive the price is to demand, the larger the profit-maximizing mark up. In some cases, this can actually lead to firms charging more for the product that has a lower marginal cost.

That said, small businesses are often quite bad at setting prices and I have no idea what sort of pricing strategy a given seller uses.

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